Nazi Titanic is a 1943 German propaganda film made during World War II in Berlin by Tobis Productions for UFA. Despite the fact that a British company had already released a German language film about the RMS Titanic, the film was commissioned by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels with the intent of showing not only the superiority of German filmmaking, but also as a propaganda vehicle which would show that British and American capitalism was responsible for the disaster, The addition of an entirely fictional heroic German officer to the ship's crew was intended to demonstrate the superior bravery and selflessness of German men as compared to the British officers.
The film's original director, Herbert Selpin, was arrested during production after speaking out against the Nazi regime he was later found hanged in prison and the film was completed by Werner Klingler, who was not credited.
Although the film had a brief theatrical run in parts of German occupied Europe starting in November 1943, it was not shown within Germany by order of Goebbels, who feared that it would weaken the German citizenry's morale instead of improving it. Goebbels later banned the playing of the film entirely, and it did not have a second run.
The "Nazi Titanic" film was the first on the subject which was simply titled Titanic, and the first to combine various fictional characters and subplots with historical personae and events of the sinking, both conventions went on to become a staple of Titanic films.
A proclamation to the stockholders of the White Star Line declares the value of their stock is falling. The president of the Line, J. Bruce Ismay (E.F. FÃ¼rbringer), promises to reveal a secret during the maiden voyage of the line's new RMS Titanic that will change that. He alone knows she can break the speed record and receive the Blue Riband, and he believes this will raise the stock's value. Ismay and the board of the White Star Line plan to manipulate the stock by selling short their own stock in order to buy it back at a lower price just before the news about the ship's record speed is revealed to the press.
On Titanic's maiden voyage in 1912, First Officer Peterson (Hans Nielsen), who is German, begs the ship's rich, snobbish and sleazy owners to slow the ship down, but they refuse, and Titanic hits an iceberg and sinks. The passengers in First Class act like cowards, while Peterson, his recently impoverished Russian aristocrat ex-lover Sigrid Olinsky (Sybille Schmitz), and other German passengers in steerage behave bravely and with kindness. Peterson manages to rescue many passengers, convince Sigrid to get into a lifeboat, and saves a young girl, who was obviously left to die in her cabin by an uncaring, callous British mother. In the ship's final death throes, Peterson leaps from the deck with the little girl still in his arms, and is pulled aboard Sigrid's lifeboat; the occupants watch in horror as Titanic plunges beneath the waves.
At the British Inquiry into the disaster, Peterson testifies against Ismay, condemning his actions, but Ismay is cleared of all charges and the blame is placed squarely on the deceased Captain Smith's shoulders. An epilogue states that "the deaths of 1,500 people remain un-atoned, forever a testament of Britain's endless quest for profit."